Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Police arrest gang behind £20 million online bank fraud

Hackers infected thousands of PCs with Zeus trojan to steal millions

Article comments

In one of the largest e-crime busts in UK history, police have arrested 19 people accused of being part of a gang that stole millions from online bank accounts using the infamous Zeus Trojan.

The Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) believes that the gang of mostly East Europeans based in London had already stolen £6 million ($9.5 million) from UK accounts, or around £2 million per month, and could have taken as much as £20 million in total.

According to descriptions given in the UK newspaper Daily Mail that extensively covered the arrests, the operation was highly sophisticated, involving a network of ‘mule’ accounts (real accounts used to withdraw money), and a mastermind described as being an ‘IT expert’.

Police said that 600 UK bank accounts had been compromised but this is likely to be a low starting figure given the large sums quoted as having been stolen.

"We believe we have disrupted a highly organised criminal network, which has used sophisticated methods to siphon large amounts of cash from many innocent people's accounts, causing immense personal anxiety and significant financial harm," Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson of the Metropolitan Police was quoted as saying.

The arrests are the latest chapter in an ongoing investigation into a sudden and worrying surge in attacks over the summer on UK bank account customers using the Zeus/Zbot Trojan.

Even by the ever-present standards of malware crime, Zeus has risen to become probably the single most unpleasant threat facing online bank account users the world over.

Only weeks ago, police arrested six people accused of using the same Zeus malware to target online bank accounts in the UK, stealing several million pounds from accounts and credit cards. It is not clear whether the new arrests are connected to this investigation or different part of what has become a more widespread problem.

The Zeus Trojan is prolific enough that it could probably support an entire e-crime news service on its own.

In August, a security company discovered evidence that the malicious program had infected as many as 100,000 PCs in the UK alone, while only days later a second security vendor discovered details of 3,000 UK online bank account users on a hacked server.

Attempts to spread the malware continue apace, including this week’s spam attack on users of the LinkedIn social network service. This particular attack was clearly aimed at stealing logins for online business accounts.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *